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National Study of Health and Wellbeing

Also known as the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, this survey runs every 7 years. Find out more about the survey.

About the survey

The National Study of Health and Wellbeing, also known as the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (APMS), runs every 7 years. Since 1993, it's been finding out how everyday stresses, strains and joys affect the health of people living in England.

The 2021 survey will be the 5th in this series of surveys and aims to interview around 8,000 adults aged 16 and over from across England. The survey findings will inform and improve local and national planning for health and support services.


Publication series

The APMS publication series includes links to the latest report and all previous APMS reports published by NHS Digital.

The report from the 2000 survey is available in the Office for National Statistics archive.


Why we do this survey

Data from this survey helps doctors and other health professionals get a clearer picture of the nation's health and wellbeing. It gives them the information to make the right choices for the future. The survey findings provide detailed information and analyses on the prevalence of both treated and untreated psychiatric disorders in the adult population (aged 16 and over).

Organisations using the survey data include central government departments and local government, as well as researchers and third-sector organisations. Data is used in policy development, in planning services and in monitoring trends and changes in the nation's health and wellbeing.

Examples of how data from the survey has been used include:

  • informing the development of the government's 'No Health Without Mental Health' mental health strategy
  • development of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme
  • informing national policy, including the National Suicide Prevention Strategy and the Department of Health's responding effectively to violence and abuse and approach to autism policies

User consultation

Results from the recent consultation on the content of the next National Study of Health and Wellbeing have now been published.   The consultation was carried out between 15 April to 8 June 2021, additional information is available on the NatCen study consultation website.

The consultation will build on a previous one carried out by NHS Digital in 2016. The findings from 2016 were published in our survey consultation report. You can also read about the details of the 2016 consultation.


Managing the survey

The 2021 survey will be carried out by NatCen Social Research on behalf of NHS Digital. It was funded by the Department of Health and Social Care.


Survey review

The 2014 survey was reviewed by an independent Research Ethics Committee, to protect the safety, rights, wellbeing and dignity of those taking part. The Survey of Health and Wellbeing for 2014 was given a favourable opinion by the West London REC (Reference no 14/LO/0411).


Participants

Participants are chosen by selecting addresses in England at random, which means that every address in England has an equal chance of being included in the survey. This ensures that we get a truly representative picture of everyone living in England.


What the survey involves

If you are chosen to take part you will receive a letter addressed to your household inviting you to take part in the survey. An interviewer will call at your home to arrange an interview at a time that suits you. The interview itself is relaxed. There's nothing to prepare and you can skip any questions you don't want to answer.

If you do not want to take part in the survey, this is fine, you can contact us when you receive the letter to let us know, or when the interviewer calls you can let them know.


Data collected

The survey includes information on:

  • wellbeing
  • disability
  • physical health
  • pain
  • lifestyle behaviours
  • work and stress
  • life events 

Confidentiality

The answers

The answers from the questionnaire are put together with the answers collected from thousands of other people across England and the survey findings are published as part of the APMS publication series. The findings will not identify anyone who took part in the survey. 

Those who take part in the survey will never receive any junk mail as a result of speaking to us. We never pass on respondents' details to other organisations for commercial purposes.

The survey data

Data collected by the Health Survey for England will be held by NatCen Social Research and NHS Digital.

This data will never be presented to others in a form that can reveal any personal information that could be used to identify individuals. An anonymised copy of the dataset is made available on the UK Data Service Catalogue, for the purposes of not-for-profit research. The UK Data Service is home to the UK's largest collection of digital social and economic research data. The data made available by the UK Data Service is subject to the NHS anonymisation standard.

We may also share more detailed data with approved researchers under a Data Sharing Agreement, following our independent scrutiny process for external data releases. This information will be used for statistical and research purposes only and individuals will not be identified.


Survey datasets

2014 survey dataset

Data is available for 1993, 2000, 2007 and 2014 from the UK Data Service. For access to the 2014 dataset researchers will need to apply for access via the NHS Digital Data Access Request Service. If this is approved the UK Data Service will grant the researcher access to the data.

To find out more about the methods of accessing this data set, visit our DARS population health surveys page.


The APMS steering group

The Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey has a steering group which has steered the design, development, implementation and delivery of the survey. The role includes:

  • providing direction and recommendations on priorities relating to the APMS
  • considering representations in relation to the needs of data users
  • considering, agreeing and approving changes in data to be collected, methodology, questionnaires, sample design, processing and presentation of results

Find out more about the steering group, including its current members.


Autism statistics

The autism statistics in our latest survey were labelled as experimental. This was to allow for further work to be undertaken to get wider assurance on whether these statistics meet the overall quality standards necessary for the Office for Statistics Regulation to designate them as national statistics.

The statistics will be assessed to ensure they are fit for purpose, based on good data and that robust statistical methodology has been used in their development. The review will also explore existing administrative data and whether these might be of use in the production, development or validation of the autism estimates.


Contact us

You can contact surveys.queries@nhs.net for any questions about the APMS survey.


Bulletins

Make sure you're receiving our latest information about APMS by subscribing to our bulletins.

Manage your preferences on our bulletins subscriptions page.  


Further information

Last edited: 21 September 2021 12:50 pm